A summer pleasure cruise on the Thames River turns to tragedy when a 17-foot launch carrying nine passengers and its pilot overturns above the old dam at Springbank Park on the afternoon of August 13. Four people drown, including a 22 year old man who was engaged to be married. His fiance survives the tragedy.
Witnesses report the boat was turning around to return to its dock when the accident occured. The incident prompts a provincial inquiry about the legality of private boat operaters offering unregulated tours along the river.
E. V. Buchanan, manager of the London utility which operates Springbank Park, argues that the hire boats do not receive any license or permission from the city to operate on the Thames.
"We don't want to have anything to do with them. We've told them, year after year, to get out. But they don't," says Buchanan, but notes that the Thames River is a Dominion waterway and beyond the jurisdiction of the city.
1945 - Housewives Riot Over Potatoes
Before the vendors were able to cry "sold out!" the crush developed into a near riot as the women pushed one stall into the middle of King Street and began screaming at each other. A policeman was called in to escort the lucky customers back to their cars with their precious cargo.
Wartime restrictions on railway travel severely curtailed the distribution of groceries in Canada. Potatoes, one of the few foods that weren't rationed during the time, were in heavy demand. The defeat of Japan a month later led to a return to heartier meals for Londoners.
1930 - Bootleggers Kidnap Brewing Magnate
But the practice of dealing with the criminal class boomerangs in the late 1920s when wealthy brewery and liquor executives are kidnapped and held for ransom. One of them is Samuel Low, sales manager for Carling Brewery Company in London and two Windsor liquor dock operators. Lowe reportedly pays $25,000 for his release while Maurice and Sydney Nathanson fork over $50,000.
To deter copycat criminals, Lowe and Carlings deny the incident even took place but four years later, the most famous of these incidents, the kidnapping of John Sackville Labatt, is splashed on front pages across Canada.
1915 - Two Londoners Perish on Lusitania
Two of the dead are Londoners Tertius Selwyn Warner, a former golf instructor, and Florence Herbert, who was going to visit her husband stationed at a military camp in Hythe, England. Many of the dead are American civilians, making the incident the 9/11 of its day.
Condemned as a wanton act of terrorism by U.S. president Woodrow Wilson, the Lusitania disaster prompts America's entry into World War I two years later.
1905 - Lebert Lombardo is two months old
Despite his reputation as a fine trumpet player, Lebert was destined to live in the shadows of more famous brothers Guy (who had the personality) and Carmen (who had the genius). But there's more to this man than you would expect...
1895 - Suicide or Murder?
Police detectives working on the case immediately conclude Hewson had committed suicide but questions were raised by the deceased's family. The man's watch, chain, pocket book and walking cane were missing. He had also ordered his wedding suit the afternoon before his death and was in good spirits. Two tramps were also seen near the scene of Hewson's death.
Egged on by sensational coverage in the London Free Press, a coroner's jury discards the police department's suicide theory a month later. It rules Hewson was clubbed over the head, robbed and left to die on the train tracks. Unfortunately, the evidence trail has gone cold by then and Hewson's murder goes unsolved.
1880 - The Donnelly Murders
Newspaper reporters from London are the first on the scene while the city's police chief, William Thomas Trounce Williams (illustrated) is put in charge of the case. Six local men are quickly arrested but things don't go well for either Williams or the prosecution in the two trials that follow.
Uncooperative witnesses, jury intimidation and Williams' lack of courtroom experience - during the trial he jokingly threatens to crack open the head of the defense attourney and then waves a loaded gun in front of the jury - failed to find any of the accused killers guilty of murder. All six men walk away and the murders go unpunished.
1855 - London town becomes a city
On a more realistic level, London's new municipal status prompts the construction of a new market building (illustrated here) and a new city hall.
1966 - Local poet booted from mall
"They are definitely going to throw us out in a few minutes. They will just tell us to leave," says McDonald. Shortly afterwards, a police officer arrives and tells the assemblage to take their cause to the street.
"I don't care what you do outside. That's your business," grumbles Sgt. Laverne Shipley. "But not in here." McDonald and his colleagues comply, continuing their demonstration in a biting December wind.
McDonald's protest originated from news reports of civilian causalities by increased U.S. bombing in Hanoi. Most of the group consists of high school and university students. "My mother's going to have a bird when she hears about this," said one placard-carrying youth.
1950 - Fired cop runs for mayor
That November, Rush, in a bizarre attempt to clear his name, announced he would run for mayor in the upcoming civic election - despite the fact he had never held public office in his life.
On December 7th, Rush
topped the polls with over 12,000 votes, easily defeating incumbent Wenige
by a margin of three to one. The following year Mayor Rush asked for -
and got - the hearing he had been denied. It ruled that "a failure
to hold a hearing into the dismissal was not only contrary to the regulations,
but also contrary to natural Justice." Score one for the little guy.
1984 - Tornado rips through Whiteoaks